There are several common ways that authors have FTL work, they all have disadvantages and advantages. As always the limitations such drives have are just as important as their strengths, if not more so.

The first is the jump drive. This allows a ship to teleport itself, not passing through the space between at all.

In the Foundation series this is how FTL works, it is limited only by star charts and how fast the pilot/computer can do the math for the next jump.

In some books that use this system the points in space that can be jump from are the limitation.

In order for this drive to not just bulldoze all your plot away you do need to use limits to your using this one.

The second is hyperspace. This means the ship travels though a different dimension, bypassing the laws of physics by going someplace the speed of light is not a limitation.

Babylon five used this method, the ships would enter hyperspace then travel using their normal drives. Then exit when they got to the point in hyperspace that corresponded to the point in normal space they wanted to be.

The third is the warp drive. This drive allows travel faster then light through our universe. This normally involves warping or creating space. Unlike the others this one can allow tracking and interception by people not traveling FTL.

All three of these have been used effectively, and it’s quite rare to find an author who uses a method that does not fall under one of those three above.

However what is more important is what limitations the drives have. In Dark Matter the blink drive can go anywhere in one jump. In the foundation series it could take days to do the math for a single jump and that jump can only take the ship so far.

I would spend more time trying to come up with interesting limitations for one of the three above then trying to think of a new way to travel faster then light. If you can come up with one, awesome use it. But don’t beat yourself up over not being able to come up with a whole new system.

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